How to Reflect on What Gratitude Means to You

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Reflecting on the many things we have to be grateful for is a great way to take your focus off the pressure and stress you face and put it onto the good in your life. By reflecting on gratitude, you’ll start to see life through a different outlook, you’ll feel less stressed, and you might even see relationships improve.

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Not only are there plenty of benefits to reflecting on gratitude, but there are plenty of ways to do it, as well. Whether you want a quick two-minute practice, a 30-minute task to focus on gratitude, or something to take with you on the go, you’re bound to find a gratitude practice that works for you.

Why It’s Important to Understand What Gratitude Means to You

According to Merriam-Webster, gratitude is “the state of being grateful,” and gratefulness is being “appreciative of benefits received.” These two definitions are helpful because they give you insight and understanding into what it means to live out the art and practice of gratitude.

There are many things to be grateful for and countless ways to show gratitude. Being thankful for the good things in your life and learning to express that thankfulness is how you show gratitude. 

Gratitude can be expressed in little ways, like saying “thank you” when someone does something kind. You can express it daily through regular journaling or self-talk about the good things in your life. You can also express it on a grand scale, such as sending your parents on vacation in gratitude for all the things they’ve done for you over the course of your lifetime.

Reflecting on the good in your life has multiple benefits, such as improving your physical, emotional, and mental health. It’s even been linked to lower blood pressure, reduced stress, better sleep, and an improved outlook on life. The good news is that to obtain these benefits, it doesn’t matter so much how you practice gratitude as long as you consistently do it.

Are you convinced and ready to get started on practicing gratitude? Here are several easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your life on a daily basis.

How to Reflect on Gratitude in Your Life

There are plenty of things to be grateful for and many ways to reflect on gratitude. Here are some of our favorites.

Say ‘thank you’

This might be the absolute best way to start incorporating a practice of gratitude into your daily life. We all have many interactions with people from the workplace and the drive-thru to restaurants, banks, grocery stores, and the gym. Try to make it a practice to say thank you any time someone does something nice for you.

Someone opens the door for you? Say thank you. The barista hands you your order made just the way you like it? Smile and say thanks. The tired mom behind the checkout counter at the grocery store makes sure the line keeps moving? Tell her what a great job she’s doing and how grateful you are that she’s there to make things go smoothly.

There are endless opportunities to offer a simple thanks for the everyday things people do for us. These things are often overlooked and go unnoticed, so saying a quick “thanks” might just make their day, too! 

Keep a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal is a great way to record thoughts of thankfulness each day. Gratitude journals come in a variety of styles, including:

  • Bullet journals
  • Creative journals
  • Journal apps
  • Writing-only journals
  • Journals with prompts
  • Blank journals 

You can typically fill out an entire gratitude journal entry when the prompt is provided for you in just a few minutes. So, whether you’re sitting in the car waiting to pick your kids up from school or you’ve carved out a chunk of time in the morning, you’ll find a journaling style that works best for you.

There’s no specific method you need to follow when journaling your gratitude. As long as you’re focusing on things that you are grateful for, you’re doing it right.

Create a ‘Thankful List’

This idea is a popular one that shows up on social media right around Thanksgiving. The idea is to simply jot down one thing you’re thankful for each day. You don’t have to complete a journal entry or paint a picture; just write down one or two words. Repeat this every day for a month or more, and you’ll find that you have a huge list of things that you’re thankful for.

Variations on this practice include:

  • Posting one thing to social media that you’re thankful for each day
  • Keeping a list in a journal or notebook
  • Having each member of your family write on a large piece of paper hanging up in a prominent area 
  • Writing down one thing each day on scraps of paper and placing them in a thankful jar to read at the end of the month
  • Forming a private messaging group where each person takes turns sharing something they’re grateful for

There are endless ways to personalize this activity so it works for you, your needs, and anyone you invite to join you.

Hold a gratitude gathering

During a gratitude gathering, you invite people to come together for the express purpose of sharing things they are grateful for. This is a particularly meaningful exercise when you combine it with a celebration of life service and invite guests to express why they were grateful to know your loved one. The answers are sure to leave a smile on your face and tears in your eyes.

If you’re looking for ways to show grief and gratitude after a loved one passes away, consider incorporating this activity into their funeral service, memorial service, or celebration of life service.

Write a blog

Think of a blog like an online journal that lives on the internet for others to read. You can keep it private if you want or you can invite other people to share in your gratitude journey by reading and commenting on what you write.

Try writing a short blog post about what you’re grateful for each day, or save it all up for one long post each week. No matter what writing schedule you decide to keep, just stay consistent with writing regularly so you get into the habit of practicing gratitude. 

Keep track of gratitude with an app

There are plenty of apps available that help you stay focused on practicing gratitude. There are bullet journal apps, apps with prompts, and free-writing apps. Depending on how much time you have to give it, you might want to choose an app that lets you journal on the go or requires a set amount of time to write. Even an app that simply poses a question and lets you answer with an emoji or a one-word answer is well worth your time when cultivating the art of gratitude.

Start vlogging your gratitude journey

If you like the idea of blogging but don’t like to write, consider vlogging instead. A vlog is a video blog where you share what you’re grateful for. These can get posted to social media sites and shared with friends, family, and strangers. People will often comment and respond to what you have to say.

If you want to bring others along with you during your gratitude journey or you want to inspire others to have an attitude of gratitude, a vlog might just be the perfect way to practice gratitude.

Invite others to join you

Invite other people to join you as you practice gratitude. You can do this by asking your readers or viewers what they’re grateful for and encouraging them to tell you in a comment. You can also ask friends or loved ones what they’re grateful for during conversations or text messages. 

You don’t have to get fancy when inviting others to share what they’re thankful for. Simply give them an opportunity to join you in the gratitude journey.

Share gratitude prompts on social media

One simple way to express gratitude and to encourage others to express gratitude is by sharing gratitude prompts on social media. If you want to leave the discussion open-ended, you could choose to post the prompt and not answer it. 

If you want to share what you are thankful for and inspire others to do the same, post the question and your answer. Always ask those who read the post to reply and share their answer to the prompt. 

Example Responses to ‘What Does Gratitude Mean to You?’

Here are several example responses to the meaning of gratitude on different platforms.

In a blog post

To me, gratitude means being thankful for the sunshine when I wake up and feel it on my face. It’s being thankful for my family and recognizing how sad life would be without them. It’s recognizing all the many little things people do throughout the day that make my day better. Gratitude is a million things scattered through a lifetime of living, and we’ll miss them all if we don’t sit up and take notice. 

On social media

Yesterday I was asked, ‘What does gratitude mean to you?’ For me, I think it means being grateful for the good in life and not forgetting to remind myself about what I have. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on, but if I can get up in the morning, I have something to be grateful for. What about you guys? What does gratitude mean to you?

In an app

Gratitude. Thankfulness, gratefulness, being aware of all the good we have in life, and focusing on the good rather than everything else.

Benefits of Reflecting on the Meaning of Gratitude

There are plenty of benefits to reflecting on the meaning of gratitude. These include things like decreasing stress, improving your outlook on life, helping produce a more positive attitude, and cultivating a greater thankfulness for what you have. 

The best thing about these benefits is that you’ll find these to be true regardless of whether you keep a journal, write down one or two words a day, or vlog about your experience. Simply practicing gratitude for even a couple of minutes a day can provide you with benefits like these.

Practicing an Attitude of Gratitude

The art of practicing gratitude may not come naturally at first, but the more you practice it, the better you’ll become. Try and make it part of your daily routine, and you might just find yourself smiling more, saying “thank you,” and being a lot more thankful for the good things you previously took for granted.

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